School of Architecture moves forward with improved home

It’s a time of history-in-the-making at the University of Miami, as we welcome renowned speakers, new administrators and revamped buildings. Among the notable events this fall, UM will celebrate the opening of the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center. This $6 million, 8,600-square-foot building will be the centerpiece of the five-building complex of the School of Architecture.

Designed by Leon Krier, a world-renowned architectural theorist and innovator in traditional architecture and urbanism, the new facilities will serve as the hub of School of Architecture activity. The school has more than 300 students in a five-year undergraduate curriculum and two masters of architecture programs.

“The building will include a lecture hall to seat 145, an exhibition gallery and a classroom,” Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the School of Architecture, said. “It also has shaded outdoor spaces that we think will be important gathering places in the life of the school.”

The new building will also allow the School to strengthen its ties with the local community by providing a setting for distinguished speakers and public events.

“The School of Architecture is known for an educational approach which prioritizes the city as the context for individual building design,” Plater-Zyberk said. “We intend to continue and improve our efforts to bring the best of the profession to our students and to engage our students with community building.”

Plater-Zyberk acknowledged that the building could not have become a reality without the help of the local community.

“The building was made possible by a wonderful group of donors, starting with the million-dollar plus bequeathed from the Stanley and Jewel Glasgow estate,” she said.

“Jorge M. Perez, whose very generous gift named the building, and who has chaired our Momentum campaign committee, has been very important in the realization of the dream that this building was for many years.”

The building was produced by a team of architects, including Krier, alumni firm Ferguson Glasgow Schuster and Soto of Coral Gables, and Merrill Pastor Architects of Vero Beach. Plater-Zyberk expects that the new building will serve not only the School of Architecture, but the larger University community as well.

“I’d like to welcome all the students in the University to use our building when we have guest speakers and exhibits for anyone who is interested in the environment, the city, and design in general,” she said. “Our events can be an enrichment of the broader University experience.”

The dedication of the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2005, and a celebratory symposium will guest speakers from around the country will take place the following day.

Megha Garg can be contacted at